Hogwarts Houses: Elements Behind the Colours
By Chantelle Harvey
Abstract: It’s a well known fact that each house is a representation of an Element in Astrology: Gryffindor symbolizes Fire, Ravenclaw symbolizes Air, Hufflepuff symbolizes Earth and Slytherin symbolizes Water. To analyse characteristics, first of all you need to understand how astrology and horoscopes work. If you don’t know your horoscope, I suggest you Google it so you can follow along as I ask the question: do the houses truly represent their Element?
Every Element is linked to three astrological birth signs. The birth signs grouped together with this Element are ‘perfect partners,’ in other words, the people that you would find good friends in. However, depending on your birth sign, you have different, varying levels of characteristics linked to your Element, in the form of whether you are a Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable Sign. Every Element has one of each, and every sign is either Cardinal or Fixed or Mutable. That’s the basics and will probably make more sense once explained in terms of Hogwarts Houses.
Gryffindor – Fire – Star Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
If you belong to Aries, Leo or Sagittarius you have the typical personality traits of a Gryffindor. The key words to describe those with Fire signs would be enthusiastic and out-going. As a Fire sign, you are ready for whatever life throws at you and take it in your stride. Just like the house Gryffindor, Fire signs like to live large and are bored my mundane tasks. They are also intuitive and use their gut–instincts, traits that are recognizable in the lead character, Harry. Going by faith alone means that they can also be deemed as reckless and unaware of the emotional impact their actions could cause.
The fact that Fire signs, and therefore Gryffindors, are enthusiastic and dramatic does not translate into bravery or courage. This translates that, in fact, bravery belongs within the person, not the house. The darker side of a Fire sign is that they are self-centered, a trait that is seen in the likes of Percy Weasley (leaving his family to follow his career), and overly aggressive, seen in the likes of Harry and his streaks of temper.
Fire signs are known as one of the bigger personalities of the Elements and tend to outshine Elements with more of an introverted attitude, a point noticeable within the novels.
Ravenclaw – Air – Star Signs: Aquarius, Gemini, Libra
If you belong to Aquarius, Gemini or Libra you have the typical personality traits of a Ravenclaw. The key words to describe those with Air signs would be logical and intellectual. As an Air sign, you are a communicator, idea–oriented and sociable. Just like the house Ravenclaw, Air signs love to learn and are curious about everything around them. They have an excellent perception of life and are reflective thinkers, often known as dreamers – traits recognizable in Luna Lovegood. Air signs are typical humanitarians and are prepared to stand up or fight for what they firmly believe. They lead with their heads and sometimes their open minds can cause others to say they are aloof or eccentric.
The fact that Air signs, and therefore Ravenclaws, are logical and intellectual does not mean they are ‘snobby’ or ‘know-it-all’s,’ as they are sometimes perceived in the novels. Air signs may be the main communicators out of all the Elements, but they tend to detach themselves from emotional situations, to avoid confusion with their believed ideas. They need intellectual stimulation and if a situation clouds their focus, they could lose interest all together.
Air signs are known as one of the bigger personalities of the Elements and tend to outshine Elements with more of an introverted attitude. Since Ravenclaws are not as thoroughly discussed as Gryffindors or Slytherins, this is not apparent.
Hufflepuff – Earth – Star Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
If you belong to Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn you have the typical personality traits of a Hufflepuff. The keywords to describe those with Earth signs would be practical and work-oriented. As an Earth sign, you have a conservative view on the world and find value in structure. Just like the house Hufflepuff, Earth signs need a practical environment and are tactile and grounded people. They are dependable and reliable as a whole, and useful in everyday situations – traits found in Cedric Diggory. They relish in productivity and are attuned to the natural world. However, they could be classed as overly materialistic, and to the extroverted Elements as boring.
In the novel, Hufflepuffs are classed as kind and loyal. The kindness mentioned could be interpreted from their dependable and reliable, warm natures; however, there is no mention of loyalty in the typical personality traits. Loyalty is similar to that of bravery found in Gryffindor – it depends on the person, not the house.
Earth signs are known as one of the introverted personalities of the Elements and tend to be out-shined. They reside in a personal and productive environment, unlike the large lifestyles of Fire and Air. Perhaps if Hufflepuffs were mentioned more in the novel, more of the Earth traits would become apparent.
Slytherin – Water – Star Signs: Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio
If you belong to Pisces, Cancer or Scorpio you have the typical personality traits of a Slytherin. The key words to describe those with Water signs would be sensitive and receptive. Out of all the houses, Slytherin is the least like their Element. As a Water sign, they seem shy at first, but once you’ve earned their trust, you build a relationship on an emotional ground. Their emotions tend to cloud everything else and they are often associated with personal dramas. They are nurturing and secretive people – traits found in Narcissa Malfoy. However, they are overly-emotional and full of self–pity.
In the novel, Slytherins are represented just as much as Gryffindors. However, cunning and ambitious do no represent Water signs that are emotional and sensitive characters. Slytherin were often portrayed with a negative view: bold personalities and opposition to Gryffindors with their competitiveness. In reality, if Slytherin is truly like their Element, then perhaps the series was written with a biased view and Slytherin are not at all what they seem in the books.
Water signs are known as one of the introverted personalities of the Elements and tend to be out-shined. They reside in emotional relationships, not the large lifestyles of Fire and Air.
The Elements react differently to one another, depending on what minds meet. Some relationships or friendships are strong and harmonious, whilst others spark dangerously.
Fire – Air – Gryffindor – Ravenclaw: Fire and Air inspire one another. Fire helps Air focus the mind, adds optimism to situations and leads the pair to impulsiveness. Meanwhile, Air makes Fire turn words into action, opens their minds to new ideas and creates excitement. This pair open doors of opportunity and never fail to astonish one another.
Earth – Water – Hufflepuff – Slytherin: Earth and Water nurture one another. Earth helps Water sort their tangible emotions into creative expression. Water helps Earth by easing their firm structure. Together they bring gifts into the world with a heightened emotional and close relationship. This is a caring friendship that adds a new dimension of meaning to both of their lives.
In terms of astrology, opposites attract. Gryffindor and Ravenclaw are based on different beliefs: one is ruled by instincts, the other by ideas. This means they are better suited together rather than apart. Hufflepuff is ruled by practicality while Slytherin is ruled by emotions. Once again practicality and emotions are better together than apart. It would then seem that Ravenclaw would not appreciate Slytherin’s heavy emotions and Gryffindor would find Hufflepuff’s structure in the way of their adventures. Slytherin could not find emotional stimulus in Ravenclaw’s intellectual thinking and Hufflepuff would find Gryffindor’s recklessness unproductive.
However, just because you have one Element that links to your Birth sign doesn’t necessarily mean you are completely and truly belonging to the one house. At the beginning of this essay I explained how there are three signs to each Element. One sign is Cardinal, the second is Fixed, while the third is Mutable.
Depending on whether you are Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable shows what type of Fire, Air, Earth, or Water Element you are. Each of the three categories has separate personality traits. Therefore, these extra traits can determine to what extent you would belong in your house.
Cardinal: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. These signs are ambitious and self–preserving.
Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. These signs are determined and stubborn.
Mutable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. These signs are adaptable and flexible.
Below is a rough guideline of how Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable can give the choice of a second Hogwarts House.
Cardinal Libra – Ravenclaw and Slytherin – Intellectual, Observing, Self– preserving, Ambitious
Fixed Aquarius – Ravenclaw and Gryffindor – Idea–Oriented, Curious, Determined, Stubborn
Mutable Gemini – Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff – Logical, Social, Adaptable, Flexible
Cardinal Aries – Gryffindor and Slytherin – Enthusiastic, Instinctive, Self–preserving, Ambitious
Fixed Leo – Gryffindor and Ravenclaw – Passionate, Adventurous, Stubborn, Determined
Mutable Sagittarius – Gryffindor and Hufflepuff – Optimistic, Adaptable, Self–centered, Flexible
Cardinal Capricorn – Hufflepuff and Slytherin – Practical, Tangible, Ambitious, Self–preserving
Fixed Taurus – Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw – Dependable, Productive, Stubborn, Determined
Mutable Virgo – Hufflepuff and Gryffindor – Conservative, Materialistic, Adaptable, Flexible
Cardinal Cancer – Slytherin and Gryffindor – Sensitive, Receptive, Self– preserving, Ambitious
Fixed Scorpio – Slytherin and Ravenclaw – Emotional, Secretive, Stubborn, Determined
Mutable Pisces – Slytherin and Hufflepuff – Intuitive, Nurturing, Adaptable, Flexible
*Depending on your individual horoscope characteristics, the categories of Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable apply to your second offered house. This is only a guideline made by me, and is based upon qualities that could be added to your Element. I chose from the traits given by the category to determine the house (e.g. Cardinal means ambitious and self-preserving, typical qualities of a Slytherin.
For example, if you were an Aquarius, you could be a Ravenclaw (Air) or a Gryffindor (Fixed). Whether you acted, or valued your curious nature over your determined attitude, you would belong in Air. Or, if you thought you were more determined than idea–oriented, you would belong in Gryffindor.
In conclusion, once this is taken into account, the Hogwarts Houses are more suited to how they are described within the series, particularly Slytherin and Hufflepuff. Which House do you think best describes you?